Like many in the transportation and service industries, last-mile professionals understand how the holidays — a time of merriment and joy for others — come with unprecedented demand that feels impossible at times to keep up with. Luckily, the holiday season doesn’t have to evoke feelings of stress, panic, and dread. You can deliver on your goals, delight your customers, and eliminate unnecessary havoc in your operation with these three strategies.
#1: Ensure drivers and teams can efficiently deliver exceptional service
Commercial drivers and transportation workers often serve as the faces of every last-mile business. Prioritizing exceptional service and pleasant customer interactions is vital. But drivers can’t do this on their own — especially with all the responsibilities and high demand that come with delivering items during a specific time-sensitive period like the holiday season. Moreover, teams in the back office can quickly get overloaded with repetitive customer calls, along with increased order and route monitoring responsibilities. Both teams can quickly become overworked and disconnected without the right support, leaving your operation frazzled and your customers aggravated.
Proactive delivery notifications are a win-win for your teams and customers. Your customers can track their deliveries in real-time and receive status notifications. This is a dual benefit for both sides of your operation, as it helps the back office spend less time on the phone answering repetitive order status calls and ensures drivers are on the same page as your customers when it comes to order deliveries.
Last but not least, meeting customer delivery windows during the busiest time of year is the final and often most critical part of any delivery operation. Your teams can utilize a configurable and efficient driver workflow application to effectively manage routes and delivery trips, creating and modifying workflows with customized tasks for specific stops and locations. Further, they can factor in customer requirements to ensure they are meeting and exceeding customer expectations.
#2: Learn from the past
Forbes released eye-opening statistics on the 2019 last-mile holiday deliveries, such as:
- Online sales accounted for 1 in every 5 holiday purchases.
- Over 8 in 10 consumers prioritized shipping in their overall online shopping experience.
- On-time deliveries fell to 81% overall — a 6% decrease from the year before.
These statistics point to a rising e-commerce experience, which has significantly grown amid in-store shopping concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increasing struggle to meet customer expectations. Thanks to one-day delivery service options from conglomerates like Amazon, customers are not lowering their expectations by any means — they’re raising them.
The future isn’t as much of a mystery as we think it is. Just as you analyze survey responses and statistics, you can utilize your company’s historical data and seasonal trends to continuously shape your holiday delivery schedules. With an intuitive strategic planning application, you can plan for those critical holiday deliveries months in advance. You can also analyze peak seasonal trends to get a better understanding of when you may need more temporary drivers or additional support, so you’re not left to scramble for help in the middle of your busiest time of year.
#3: Gift your teams with holiday cheer and recognition — they deserve it
Transportation professionals work tirelessly to make deliveries happen as smoothly and successfully as possible, which is all the more evident during the holidays. They spend long periods delivering loads and orders to customers who depend on your business.
In addition to providing good pay and benefits and efficient solutions that help make their day-to-day responsibilities more manageable, you can find meaningful ways to recognize the transportation players in your operation this holiday season. These gestures can be as simple as gifting them gift baskets or making an effort to acknowledge and thank them consistently. No matter how you choose to express your gratitude for your teams, your appreciation is often much needed.
Happy holiday planning! To further keep your operation prepared for success this holiday season and the months beyond, check out our blog post on cold weather driving tips for truckers.